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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


WORMALD, Francisca  and  RED NEONATAL NEOCOSUR et al. Stress in parents of very low birth weight preterm infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units. A multicenter study. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2015, vol.113, n.4, pp.303-309. ISSN 0325-0075.

Introduction. The birth of a premature baby is a stressful event for parents. The objective of this study was to determine early stress in parents of very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs) hospitalized in 12 neonatal intensive care units from a South American Neonatal Network, to identify associated factors, and to compare the level of parental stress in public versus private healthcare facilities. Population and Methods. Cross-sectional study in mothers/fathers of VLBWIs (500 to 1500 g). Early parental stress was measured using the Parental Stressor Scale, with a score from 1 (low stress) to 5 (high stress). The sociodemographic characteristics of parents and newborn infants were collected and associated with levels of parental stress. Results. The study included273 fathers/mothers of a total of218 VLBW preterm infants. The survey was administered at 5.9 ± 2.0 days of life. The average total parental stress was 3.1 ± 0.8, and the highest score was obtained for the parental role subscale (3.6). A lower education level, unemployment, not having held the newborn infant, and respiratory support requirement were associated with higher parental stress levels. Stress was higher among mothers than fathers, and at public facilities versus private ones. Conclusions. Among parents of VLBWIs, a moderate early parental stress was observed. Parental role alteration was the most relevant factor. Parental stress was higher among mothers and at public healthcare facilities. A greater sensitization, further research and interventions in this area are required.

Keywords : Psychological stress; Parents; Very low birth weight infant; Neonatal intensive care units.

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